The nasal valve is the narrowest part of the nasal airway, located in the middle to lower portion of the nose. Physiologically, because this is the narrowest part of the nasal airway, there is a great deal of air flow resistance that occurs in this area and the nasal valve actually works to limit airflow.
Nasal valve collapse is a term that refers to any weakness or further narrowing of the nasal valve. Since the nasal valve is such a narrow area, any alteration in the structure of the nose that affects this area can result in increased resistance or even block airflow.
Plastic surgery to the nose, or rhinoplasty, is the most common cause of nasal valve collapse. Also, a nasal valve collapse can occur after trauma to the nose or nose surgery as the result of inflammation, enlarged tissue or even scar tissue.
In some instances, nasal valve collapse can be the result of inherited anatomical characteristics such as an over-projecting nose or narrow nostrils.
An otolaryngologist is best qualified to diagnose nasal valve collapse because other medical conditions and symptoms can also present with these symptoms. Examination of the nose including a nasal endoscopy may be helpful in the diagnosis.
Surgery is the most common treatment for a nasal valve collapse. However, some patients find relief of symptoms by using a nasal valve dilator, a device that widens the nasal valve. It is usually worn at night.
You will receive a thorough diagnostic examination to evaluate if you have a nasal value collapse and determine what course of treatment is needed. Careful monitoring and the involvement of an experienced otolaryngologist are important to the successful outcome for patients with ear, nose and throat disorders and conditions.
If you are having surgery or a procedure, you will likely be scheduled for a visit to the Weiner Center for Preoperative Evaluation for pre-operative information and tests.
The day of surgery, you will be taken care of in the operating room by otolaryngologist, anesthesiologists and nurses who specialize in surgery for patients with a nasal value collapse. After surgery, you will go to the post-surgical care unit where you will receive comprehensive care by experienced surgical and nursing staff.
Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital provides a multidisciplinary approach to patient care by collaborating with colleagues who have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating ear, nose and throat disorders and conditions. In addition, patients have full access to Brigham and Women's Hospital's world-renowned academic medical community, with its diverse specialists, and state-of-the-art facilities.